Your Irrigation System Checklist

Many property owners unintentionally over water their landscape every time their sprinkler system turns on. Using an automated irrigation system is one of the best ways to keep your lawn and landscape beautiful and healthy. A good irrigation system is also one of the best ways to keep watering costs low and protect the environment.

Are you planning to upgrade or make significant repairs to your irrigation system this year? There are a number of things you should consider before you invest in an irrigation system.

Investing in a good irrigation system

Plan carefully for a reliable, flexible irrigation system that can grow along with your property. The old adage, “You get what you pay for,” is often true, especially when you are investing in an irrigation system that can last for many years.

By using the best components you can afford, you minimize future maintenance and extend the lifetime cost of your system.

Plan for plant health

Designing an efficient irrigation system requires understanding of irrigation design principles and local environmental conditions. Even the best irrigation design won’t perform well if installed incorrectly or with inferior components. Something as simple as selecting the correct type of pipe can mean the difference between a system that lasts and one that requires ongoing repairs.

In addition to proper irrigation components, you should also consider your property’s features. You should select the appropriate trees, turf and plants that have right requirements for your area.

Plan your irrigation zones carefully, grouping plants with similar water needs together. Be sure your system will have enough capacity, both now and in the future. The more irrigation zones you plan, the more you can tailor watering even if you modify landscaping.

  • Include “smart” controls that automatically adjust watering based on rain, soil moisture, evaporation and plant water use.
  • Use quality components to minimize future maintenance needs and the total lifetime cost of your system.

Plan for Growth and Flexibility

Allow for future landscape redesigns and changes to your property.  The plants, turf areas and trees on your property each have different watering needs. Over time, these needs may change and your system should have the flexibility to change along with them.

Keep future expansion in mind when you install a new irrigation system. You will want to allow for excess irrigation zone capacity, including extra connections in your system design, to make it easier and less expensive to expand in the future.

Select an appropriate system for your property’s water pressure. Having water pressure that is either too low or too high can seriously affect an irrigation system’s performance.

If you have questions about how to improve your irrigation system, contact Terracare Associate’s irrigation specialists.

Winterizing Your Property’s Irrigation

With colder temperatures fast approaching it’s time to think about winterizing your property’s irrigation system. This will prevent water loss and icy walkways. Prepare your irrigation system for winter by performing a system audit to check for potential problems.

Step 1: Check the sprinkler heads

  • Check for missing or broken sprinkler heads and replace any broken sprinkler heads.

  • Remove clogged heads and clean the filter or replace, if necessary.

  • Adjust tilted heads to ensure that they are not spraying in the wrong direction.

  • Replace all leaky valves in the valve box to prevent leaking water and high water costs.

  • Remove and trim back grass, shrubs or other plants that cause misdirected or blocked spray pattern and obstruction of raising the heads.

  • Adjust the sprinkler heads to avoid spraying sidewalks, driveways or other hardscapes. This will not only save money on watering costs, but it will also prevent icy, slippery pedestrian walkways.

Step 2: Consider the watering needs of cool season plants

During colder weather many cool season plants need less water. Turf grasses like St. Augustine and Bermuda grass go dormant during the winter months. You need to adjust the timing and zone settings on your irrigation system to prevent over watering.

Step 3: Use weather-based smart controllers

SnowWeather-based controllers are designed to adjust your irrigation schedules based on weather conditions. These climate-based systems gather local weather information and factor in your exact landscape to make irrigation run-time adjustments so your landscape receives the appropriate amount of water.

Step 4 Install rain/freeze sensors

Contact the irrigation system specialists at Terracare Associates to ensure your property is ready for winter.

Reasons To Consider Turf Reduction For Your Commercial Property

Sustainable landscapingDid you know that landscape watering accounts for nearly 50% of your water bill?

Property managers are constantly looking for ways to reduce water costs without compromising the appearance of their landscapes. What can you do to maintain the beauty of the landscaping on your commercial property while also using less water in your landscape? One of the best ways to accomplish this is with a turf reduction conversion.

What is turf reduction?

Turf reduction or landscape conversion involves replacing selected sections of turf grass with drought resistant, native plants or other landscape materials. Turf reduction conversion doesn’t mean covering your property in pea gravel or monkey grass. With the vast selection of beautiful native plants with low water needs, creative design and use of alternative landscaping materials, you will not miss the turf areas.

Hens and ChicksNative plants and xeriscaping

Based on the climate and layout of your property, you can use a variety of low-growing ground covers such as Asiatic Jasmine and Lamb’s Ear that can take the heat and have low water requirements. Water-wise perennials and ornamental grasses will also add color and texture to the landscape design.

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Landscape alternatives

Crushed granite, mulch and river rocks are a few landscape alternatives to replace irrigated turf grass in

areas that are long and narrow or small and odd-shaped.

Why you should consider turf reduction conversion

  1. It uses less landscape water and reduces watering costs

Everyone loves the look of a beautifully manicured, lush, green turf area on their property. Because of the rising cost of landscape watering, many municipalities offer a rebate for reducing the turf areas on residential and commercial properties.

  1. Is turf grass the best choice for certain areas?

The best use of turf grass is on areas where people will be sitting or playing. Ask yourself: is it necessary to have turf grass in parking strips/islands or on south-facing slopes? Why pay to water turf in these hard-to-maintain areas, when that water can be used for the most valuable things in your landscape: trees.

  1. Sustainability and being green

Today, being water-wise and sustainable are not just buzzwords. Irrigation modifications, using native plants and xeriscaping design are not only good for business, but good for the environment as well.

Is turf reduction right for your commercial property? Contact Terracare Associates.

How to Improve Your Property’s Irrigation System on any Budget

Today, commercial property managers aim to have sustainable landscapes that enhance the look of their property without overusing precious resources, such as water.. Time and budget constraints can often limit plans to completely overhaul your landscape irrigation system. However, you might be able to make some of the needed improvements in incremental steps.

Implementing just a few of these suggestions each year can make a significant impact on your irrigation system, watering costs and your landscape’s appearance. Our staff at Terracare recommends the following solutions and best practices:

Step 1 – Simple and low cost solutions

  • Use mowers with mulching blades on turf areas– do not bag grass clippings or leaves.Coneflower
  • Implement an integrated pest management program
  • Mulch beds with 2-3 inches of organic material to prevent weeds and hold moisture near the root zone of the plants.
  • Use water-wise perennial and native plants
  • Perform turf aeration – pull plugs out of the soil throughout the turf to get more oxygen and water to the root system.
  • Install rain and freeze sensors on your irrigation system to avoid unwanted or unsafe watering.
  • Perform regular irrigation system check-ups, looking broken sprinkler heads, clogged lines and other problem areas.

Step 2 –Moderate cost solutions

  • Sub-metering your irrigation system will allow you to better track water usage and remove water waste costs from your irrigation bill.
  • Shred and reuse all organic materials and landscape trimmings as mulch or compost.
  • Conduct an irrigation audit to determine your water usage.
  • Replace rotor spray nozzles with stream spray nozzles to reduce water runoff.

 

Step 3 – High impact solutions

Some solutions cost more, however, the long-term gains in efficiencies, water conservation and significant reductions in water costs is well worth the investment.

  • Install a drip irrigation system throughout the property Drip system
  • Consider an irrigation supply system that uses captured rainwater, gray water or onsite treated waste water.
  • Install an ET controller, equipped with weather station monitoring – this better controls when and how much the irrigation system operates.

These are just a few suggestions that you can implement to improve your irrigation system.

For more information about ways you can make improvements on your landscape irrigation system, contact Terracare Associates by visiting our website.

Terracare Associates’ irrigation experts are state-licensed technicians, trained to provide watering programs based on the varying needs of plants and planting environments. We design irrigation programs that are tailored to the client’s water use budget, while protecting their landscape investments.

Free Irrigation Audit